After allowing No. 7 Notre Dame to score a goal late in the second quarter goal, No. 1 Maryland men’s lacrosse’s offense started the third quarter with a bang, scoring three goals in less than two minutes.
Senior midfielder Kyle Long kicked off the second half with a wraparound goal only thirty seconds in, and then Long found fifth-year midfielder Anthony DeMaio to make it 7-4. With 13:18 left in the third quarter, junior attacker/midfielder Jack Brennan scored a goal of his own to push the Maryland lead to 8-4.
The momentum that the Terps gained from that third-quarter run proved to be decisive, as the Fighting Irish never came back to tie the game. No. 1 Maryland men’s lacrosse improved to 5-0 on the season, as it defeated No. 7 Notre Dame 11-9 in a competitive road win on Saturday afternoon in South Bend, Indiana.
The Terrapins picked up their fourth straight ranked win. Notre Dame’s record dropped to 1-2, but both losses have come to teams ranked in the top three.
“It definitely was a typical Maryland-Notre Dame game where it’s kind of like a boxing match, where it’s round after round and blow after blow and you just gotta keep punching and scrapping,” Maryland head coach John Tillman said.
Notre Dame got on the board first with a first-minute strike from senior attacker/midfielder Griffin Westlin after a great pass from sophomore midfielder Eric Dobson opened up Westlin right in front of the goal. Five games into the season, Maryland faced its first deficit.
Fifth-year attacker Logan Wisnauskas got the answer for the Terps, scoring on the man up after Notre Dame’s Ryan Hallenbeck was called for holding.
With 4:58 left in the first quarter, freshman midfielder Will Angrick scored an unassisted goal to put Notre Dame up 2-1. That proved to be the score at the end of the quarter, as both teams played fantastic defense and limited the other team’s opportunities.
“We didn’t start the way we wanted but [we] were able to reset and just keep sticking with it,” graduate short-stick defensive midfielder Roman Puglise said about Notre Dame’s hot start on offense. “That’s been our go-to all year: stick together, stick to the game plan and stick to our system.”
Notre Dame won all four of the first quarter’s faceoffs but struggled to put its shots on net when it got extra possessions. Maryland’s offense also looked flustered early, turning the ball over four times in the opening period.
Junior faceoff specialist Luke Wierman picked up the pace on faceoffs for the Terps, however, winning the second quarter’s first three. The Terps’ offense started rolling, with sophomore attacker Eric Malever finding the back of the net after a great pass from Long. Less than a minute later, Wisnuaskas got his second goal of the game, taking a pass from Brennan and streaking towards the net to beat Notre Dame’s junior goalie Liam Entenmann.
Wierman ended up winning six of the seven faceoffs in the second quarter.
Junior attacker Pat Kavanagh put his elite scoring ability on display with his first goal of the game, a great running shot that tied the game at three with 10:06 on the second-quarter clock.
That tie didn’t last long, however, as Wisnauskas found sophomore midfielder Jack Koras to make it 4-3 Terps with 9:29 to go in the half. Wisnauskas got another assist about a minute later, as a forced turnover from the Maryland defense led to a transition opportunity and opened up graduate midfielder Roman Puglise for a point-blank scoring opportunity that he converted.
Notre Dame cut the lead to one with just 16 seconds remaining in the first half, as Westlin scored his second goal of the game on the man-up after sophomore defenseman Ajax Zappitello was penalized for slashing. Westlin’s goal made the score 5-4 heading into the halftime break.
Despite allowing the late goal, Maryland’s defense was the star of the show in the first half. Aided by Wierman’s success on faceoffs, the unit locked down Notre Dame’s usually prolific offense and forced ten turnovers as well as eight shots off target.
“I think we had a good plan. Obviously [we] played them like five games ago going back to last year so [we were] kind of familiar with some of them, and they took it to us a little bit last year,” Puglise said of the defensive midfielders’ play Saturday. “Having that film to watch really helped us in our preparation.”
The shots on target weren’t going in for the Irish either, as junior Logan McNaney was fantastic in goal for the Terps. He made eight first-half saves, including a highlight-reel stop against Pat Kavanagh, who stole the ball from McNaney (who had just made a save) but was denied after the junior goalie shut off a seemingly open net. McNaney finished the game with 12 saves.
“When we needed him, it seemed like he would come up with a big save,” Tillman said of his goaltender. “Not only did he make some good saves, but there were some times in the clearing game where I thought he really did a nice job as well.”
After Maryland’s offensive run, subsequent cool down and nearly five minutes of scoreless lacrosse, sophomore attacker Bryce Walker scored for the Irish to cut the Terps’ lead to three.
Brennan scored again for the Terps to make it 9-5 after he desperately shot the ball on goal to reset the shot clock and Entenmann couldn’t handle it, letting it squeak by and roll over the goal line.
As the third quarter winded down, Notre Dame looked to its superstar siblings for energy. With 59 seconds remaining, Pat Kavanagh found freshman attacker Chris Kavanagh for his seventh goal of the season. Then, Maryland senior defenseman Brett Makar turned the ball over while attempting to clear and Pat Kavanagh scored his second goal of the game with only five seconds remaining in the quarter. That goal made it 9-7 Maryland heading into the final period of play.
Graduate midfielder Wheaton Jackoboice, who scored four goals against Maryland a year ago, cut the Maryland lead to one with an unassisted tally two minutes into the fourth quarter.
The Terps got a bit more breathing room after Malever grabbed a loose ball and found himself unmarked, firing a shot into the back of the net to make the score 10-8 with 9:11 remaining.
Jackoboice scored again, this time on the man advantage, with 6:52 left. Long responded with a goal of his own, ripping a shot into the top corner to move Maryland’s lead back to two with under five minutes to play. His goal ended up being the game’s last, as the Terps held on to win 11-9.
The Terps return home to College Park next Saturday to face the Albany Great Danes at noon.
“We did a great job sticking together and kept playing. [The] defense did a great job, Wierman was great today. Overall, [we’re] looking at all we have and kind of moving on to the next one and getting the next one,” Long said.
Three things to know
- As Wierman goes, so do the Terps. After failing to win a faceoff in the first quarter, Wierman won 18 of the final 20 faceoffs and Maryland’s offense used those extra possessions to score ten goals in the final three quarters compared to just one in the first. With many talented teams remaining on the schedule and postseason play still to go, the Terps will need to continue to limit opponents’ time of possession and the best way to do that is to not let them get the ball in the first place. When Wierman gets hot on faceoffs, Maryland’s offense begins to heat up as well.
- Maryland continues to be vulnerable in the final minute of the quarter. As has been a problem in previous games, Maryland’s defense allowed key goals as the clock wound down in the second and third quarters. Westlin’s goal at the end of the first half made it a one-goal game and could’ve provided decisive momentum for Notre Dame heading into the third quarter. Chris and Pat Kavanagh scored with under a minute remaining in the third quarter, Pat’s goal coming after Makar’s error. Maryland has responded well to these late runs, but if they continue to let teams back into games they are going to pay for it eventually.
“It’s definitely something that we want to be better at, finishing quarters a little bit better,” Tillman said. “We’ve had moments where we did a good job. And then there have been times this year where we have not played the end of quarters well.”
3. Discipline is key for the Terps. Maryland took three penalties during Saturday’s game and allowed goals on two of Notre Dame’s man-up opportunities. The Terps also took 30 more seconds in penalties than the Fighting Irish did. While three penalties in a game is not an exorbitant amount, Maryland needs to limit the number of penalties it takes going forward because teams like Notre Dame will make it pay for those mistakes.